The pros and cons of DIY
There are a lot of tools out there that allow you to build websites that are both basic and beautiful. We covered website builders in a previous post. But should you use these tools? Here are some pros and cons.
Pros: It’s cost effective. This is pretty self-explanatory. Using a website builder is cheaper than hiring a web developer. Most can have a website up and running in about an hour with very little help. You can use royalty free photography, connect payments to any bank account, and create a logo right on some of the platforms.
Cons: But is it really cost effective? Even the cheapest of website developers have fairly high hourly rates compared to other contractors, and they’re certainly less expensive compared to a full-time web designer salary. And then there’s the adage that goes, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a good web developer, wait until you hire a cheap one.” The DIY approach, depending on the goals of your website, can actually wind up costing you more time and money than hiring a professional.
If you’re really looking to build a business–to get a significant number of users, begin processing purchases, and eventually acquire funding from an angel investor or venture capitalist–then you probably need to get some help from someone who knows what they’re doing. Hiring a professional website developer, or even someone who can consult you on UX/UI, will likely pay off more in the long run than the going-it-alone approach.
Pros: Most website builders enable analytics tools, and some even have their own. One of the most important things you can do when building a product is gather user data. You need to be able to see how users are navigating your website to ensure they are accomplishing whatever the goal of your site is, whether it’s creating a profile or making a purchase. Today, most website builders have a back-end system that allows the collection of customer information (or profiles), as well as fairly easy integration with tools such as Google Analytics.
Cons: Does the tool give you enough data to prove your concept? Websites need to be structured properly, set up with the proper funnels and funnel analysis tools, while also tracking as much user information as possible in order for you to make sound business decisions. Using a website builder may seem easy and look as though it has all of the back-end support you need, but you will likely need something that is more capable of tracking–and managing–all of the information your app or website collects. Depending on your business, there may be a plugin or two that can help manage this, but often it’s best to build your own back-end.
Pros: You have complete control of what you’re building. Similar to the “Is it really cost effective?” section, having complete control of what you build can be a huge benefit. It’s easier to execute a vision than it is to explain it to someone else. If you have web design inspiration and the skills to make it happen (even if you’re using a drag and drop editor), then it’s sometimes easier to just build it on your own.
Cons: Optimization. I’m sure you have an uncle, father, or grandfather who is that wannabe handyman, but is just terrible at it. He tries to change the oil in the car, but more of it winds up on the garage floor than in the car itself. That’s what it’s like when many of us try to build our own websites. The navigation isn’t in logical order, images are stretched, and the pagination is off.
A website needs to be optimized for user experience, or UX, in order for it to be effective. If this isn’t a focus, even of the most basic websites, then you’re not giving your product a fair shot.
Ultimately, the decision to make your own website is completely up to you. Given the pros and cons we outlined, give some serious consideration as to whether or not your business model, resources, and goals can thrive within the limitations of a self-made website. If you decide you need some help, please let us know. We would be happy to build your product.